Spiced A Pastry Chef s True Stories of Trials by Fire After Hours Exploits and What Really Goes on in the Kitchen Read Dahlia Jurgensen s posts on the Penguin Blog A clever and affectionate glimpse at the truth about what goes on behind that swinging door full of great insider stuff Anthony Bourdain Life in a re

  • Title: Spiced: A Pastry Chef's True Stories of Trials by Fire, After-Hours Exploits, and What Really Goes on in the Kitchen
  • Author: Dalia Jurgensen
  • ISBN: null
  • Page: 313
  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • Read Dahlia Jurgensen s posts on the Penguin Blog A clever and affectionate glimpse at the truth about what goes on behind that swinging door, full of great insider stuff Anthony Bourdain Life in a restaurant kitchen is strenuous and exciting, while its inhabitants areunique In this testosterone laden atmosphere, Dalia Jurgensen tirelessly pursued her dream of bRead Dahlia Jurgensen s posts on the Penguin Blog A clever and affectionate glimpse at the truth about what goes on behind that swinging door, full of great insider stuff Anthony Bourdain Life in a restaurant kitchen is strenuous and exciting, while its inhabitants areunique In this testosterone laden atmosphere, Dalia Jurgensen tirelessly pursued her dream of becoming a chef, working her way up though New York s top restaurants In her deliciously entertaining memoir, she divulges the dynamics between cooks and waiters, chefs and food critics, and heated affairs between staff members Written with sincere love for the industry, this is a candid insider s tour from the unique perspective of an acclaimed pastry chef.

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    One thought on “Spiced: A Pastry Chef's True Stories of Trials by Fire, After-Hours Exploits, and What Really Goes on in the Kitchen”

    1. Despite the two-star rating, this book is not terriblejust bland.If you've never read a book by a chef, you might find this one fascinating, but if you have, well, there's nothing new here. Jurgensen has worked a wide variety of restaurant jobs. For me, the most interesting bit was her stint in the Martha Stewart Living test kitchen. THAT, at least, was something I'd never read about before.After reading Dishwasher: One Man's Quest to Wash Dishes in All Fifty States a few years ago, and now this [...]

    2. I wanted to like this book more than I ultimately did. The individual sections were all for the most part interesting, but it just felt like there wasn't much of a *challenge*, if that makes any sense. Jurgensen just kept becoming a better, more experienced cook, and moving up to better positions at newer restaurants, some of which fared better than others. Even the hyper-sexism of the restaurant kitchen world seems less like an obstacle to overcome than a slice-of-life from which to draw anecdo [...]

    3. Becoming a pastry chef is one of my ultimate fantasy "dream" jobs so I was instantly intrigued by this book and excited to read it. Dalia, or "Doll" as her boss calls her, is a witty, intelligent, and strong storyteller. Much like her career and rise to the top, the book was very fast-paced and I devoured it in one night. I loved sharing in her adventures of kitchen politics, lust, love, and creative baking. Her descriptions of the desserts, the chefs, and other characters were all so rich and d [...]

    4. I didn't really enjoy this book - not because it's a bad book, but because it made me angry, even though the author didn't say anything I didn't already know. It's a really realistic portrait of life in a restaurant kitchen - for a woman, it can be hell on earth until you develop such a thick skin that the level of misogyny and homophobia among cooks and chefs just stops bothering you. Some restaurants are great places to work, but the majority are still basically clubhouses for 12 year old boys [...]

    5. There is a theoretical limit to the number of first-person books which can be written with the topic sentence "How I went from nothing to being a great chef and the adventures I had along the way." That limit appears to be far from being reached. Dalia Jurgensen abandoned a career in publishing to pursue the chef's life. This memoir describes how she got from nowhere to somewhere and her adventures along the way. It includes some memorable characters (whose names have been changed to avoid the l [...]

    6. Prepare to be immersed in a career where burns are a source of pride, labor laws don’t seem to apply, and the validation of one’s self-worth balances tenuously on a single thing: the opinion of the New York Times Restaurant Reviewer. Spiced gives us a colorful, behind-the-scenes look into the life of a professional chef.Author Dalia Jurgensen had a respectable office job before she spontaneously quit and dove headfirst into her dream of becoming a chef. Spiced follows Jurgensen’s career fr [...]

    7. I feel like over the past few months I've read a lot of memoirs about cooking and food and fancy restaurants. This one wasn't my favorite fave, but it wasn't bad by any means. Dalia decides at age 25 to leave her corporate job and start at culinary school. The culinary school part only gets a few pages of text - the majority of the story is dedicated to her on the job training, and how she eventually finds herself as a pastry chef in several high end restaurants.She has a nice writing style and [...]

    8. I think you have to be particularly self-absorbed to think you can write your memoir at the age of 37. Unless there's something wildly unique/extraordinary about you, or your life has just been one harrowing set of adventures after another, you just don't have the wisdom and experience it takes to write a really good memoir. You just haven't lived a life that warrants the interest. Unfortunately, Dalia Jurgenson is no exception. Her book is bland. Nothing about it is the least bit remarkable, an [...]

    9. I've posted a review of Spiced on my book blog, bookbirddogI checked Dalia Jurgensen's website, myspicedlife for some of the delicious dessert recipes she writes about in her book, but none are there!! She has fairly simple recipes like banana bread, brownies, and cookies on her website.What blew me away in her book was a description of the employee bathroom in one of the restaurants she worked in. I wonder if I'll ever want to eat in a restaurant again before I inspect their employee facilities [...]

    10. Not bad, not bad, refreshing after Bourdain's sad sack of an effort of how a pastry chef experiences a career. But this beeyatch is EXTREMELY lucky! Right away she is working at 3 star, 4 star restaurants, hotels, working with Martha Stewart's test kitchen, developing her own recipes and selling them! At times her time in the kitchen reads like women in the military more than women in the kitchen, but rightly so- you really get to see the other side of Bourdain's sexist behavior. It also probabl [...]

    11. I see people didn't like this book much. I really enjoyed it. Not only was it refreshing to see the tough-guy cook memoir done by a girl, but her writing is graceful - descriptive but terse, my favorite combination, and her descriptions of her coworkers and (most importantly) the food they create are vivid and well crafted. In addressing the sexism of the cooking world, she strikes just the right tone: acerbic but not bitter. Funny, captivating, unconventional - and I had to get up and make dess [...]

    12. Her desserts sound delicious and I'm definitely ordering one next time I'm in Brooklyn at the Dressler. Bamboo honey panna cotta? Yes, please! Apple-rhubarb crisp with white pepper ice cream? I'll have one of those, too!It was indeed a true insight into a restaurant kitchen for outsiders (even though I'm not exactly an outsider). My favorite part was learning was it was like to work in the Martha Stewart test kitchen.Seriously, though, why do all the new first-person culinary accounts have to in [...]

    13. As a pastry cook I was very much looking forward to reading this - hoping it would be the Kitchen Confidential of the pastry world. While I enjoyed many of the sections and the 1st 25 pages were remarkably similar to my thoughts and feelings upon entering the culinary world after spending 10 years working in offices, in the end it wasn't quite as griping as I hoped. But all in all it was well written and highly entertaining. It only took me about 2 hours to read, so its perfect for summer readin [...]

    14. Another chef memoir. It was entertaining, but nothing spectacular. My favorite chef book so far is "Kitchen Confidential" and I tend to compare all others to it. The author seemed to never had to work in a dump. Even her first job was at Nobu in New York.

    15. "Order, fire!" screamed Steven from the window that separated the small, open kitchen from the dining room.Dalia Jurgensen left an office job and jumped head first into the New York restaurant scene. Fourteen years later, she wrote Spiced, a memoir of her time in the kitchens of some of the most famed restaurants in the city. You'll read about her first mentor, Mika; her struggles with a male-dominated industry; problems with chef uniforms and her decision to pursue pastry rather than savory coo [...]

    16. If you are looking for a quick and easy to read book about restaurants then this is your book. Otherwise it's just average. Ms. Jurgensen doesn't really go into detail about anything. She's usually far away from the kitchen so she doesn't go into any details about the humor there or the fires or anything. It's almost like she's just describing another day at the office for you. Well maybe to her it is. She worked on Martha Stewart's show and it's a short chapter. She doesn't go into how Martha i [...]

    17. Dalia Jurgensen had what she thought was her dream job, working for a magazine. But she decided she thought wrong. And instead took up a new career as a pastry chef.Luckily for her readers, she remembered enough about journalism to craft an interesting look at restaurant life from the dessert corner of the kitchen.Starting out as an assistant, putting up with egos and sexist pigs and cowardly waiters who take it out on the kitchen, Jurgensen also meets talented and generous creative people. And [...]

    18. It's a hard-knock life: Jurgensen's fair warning to those with culinary aspirations.For those of you who, like me, often dream of swapping a desk job for a pastry station, Dalia Jurgensen's Spiced is a revelation. Literally. Who knew the waters of kitchen politics would be as difficult to navigate as those of the typical office?While Jurgensen begins her journey, intending to become a chef, her experiences lead her to ultimately choose pastry. The mainly male-oriented profession leads to some pr [...]

    19. Thank you to Putnam s for the opportunity to read and review this wonderful memoir which mixes restaurant hijinks that we all suspect happen with the hysterically funny rise of Dalia Jurgensen to the title of Pastry Chef. Like everyone else on the planet, I have watched Hell s Kitchen, 30-Minute Meals, Cooking with Paula, Top Chef& and every other television show which allows me special access to the secrets of cooking. I know how to make things semi-homemade and with a little touch of BAM! [...]

    20. i really enjoy reading books written by cooking professionals about their lives, and this book is one of my favorites of the genre. the author pretty much up and decided one day to drop the 9-5 office job and become a chef. through a fairly incredible series of lucky breaks, she started out at one of the top restaurants in NY, Nobu, as an intern and went on from there to have a wide range of experiences at various new and established 2 and 3 star restaurants. i doubt that her experience is at al [...]

    21. Interesting. I liked best the descriptions of how to cook things. I think she could have made it stronger by giving us a better view of her inner evolution of how she came to be satisfied with being a pastry cook. There was just a bit missing that would have made it more memorable, more real. She had all the elements, but it was like it making a recipe but missing the salt. It can taste good, but you can tell it's missing. It just misses the mark- like this book. And she spent too much time hati [...]

    22. Here's the thing, there are a lot better chef memoirs on the book shelves; this one's okay.Dalia Jergensen up and leaves her day job to trail a pastry chef at Nubo. Having already signed up for cooking school she soon quits her desk job and works her way up the restaurant cook ladder. She gets oil burns, same as all the other chefs; she gets no respect, same as all the other newbie chefs; she slowly gains confidence, same as all the other new chefs; she gets confused about the restaurant social [...]

    23. An entertaining read, but the subtle orientalist tinge to the chapters detailing the author's time at Nobu rubbed me the wrong way, as did her constant misspellings of Japanese words. (Did no one edit the first half? It doesn't take a language expert to notice that personal name was spelled on way on one page and another on the next.) Why should Japanese names be any more "strange" or "foreign" than those of Spanish or Slavic origin? Japanese seemed to be the only language/culture to get this tr [...]

    24. Quite enjoyed this. Jurgenson's "Spiced" follows a trail blazed by Anthony Bourdain, writing with a realistic eye on life as a kitchen professional. As it begins with the author just after a career switch, I thought this book might go the route of Katherine Darling's "Under the Table" and end up mainly focused on culinary school itself. Happily Jurgenson barely mentions anything of culinary school, instead diving straight into her early on-the-job "apprenticeship" and never turns back as she sha [...]

    25. I like behind-the-scenes memoirs of the reality of systems which compliment the reality of systems which I have experienced, which includes swearing, sewage, and promiscuity. Ergo, this book is fun as it includes all aforementioned. I read it overnight. It is missing some of the raw emotional pain and recovery I enjoy consuming for pleasure, but you wanted to get to know her parents and thank her for saying what she realized she wanted out of a job, which is concrete, like a mentor and guidance [...]

    26. I liked this book, probably more so because I've had actual kitchen experience and was able to relate to a lot of the situations Dalia so accurately describes in her book - how pastry chefs are relegated to the corner (or basement) of the kitchen and are not considered true chefs, the male-"camaraderie" that makes it so difficult for women to be a part of this industry and the pure commitment of time and lifestyle to a passion. Dalia does a fantastic job capturing it all through her widely succe [...]

    27. I really enjoyed this book. I am a huge Anthony Bourdain fan and have absolutely loved his books, so I was skeptical that this would not compare. My mom, a pastry chef, kept urging me to read it. I was not disappointed! I've been around kitchens my whole life (both my parents are chefs), so I was able to chuckle along with the stories. I loved seeing the view from a woman's standpoint, especially a female pastry chef, which is one of the more shit-on positions of a kitchen. My mom was a one-woma [...]

    28. I concur with my spouse as well as another reviewer--this is good but not great. There are some very good memoirs of kitchens and very gratuitous ones of bedrooms--to the point where the personal details really detract from the overall stories. I enjoyed the evolution of this pastry chef, and her maturing as a chef--I just need to know alot less about her maturing as a woman. More foodie details would have been great---and maybe less stories of meanness in the kitchen and more of an analysis of [...]

    29. I was really disappointed by this book. It had great potential, but Dalia Jurgensen seemed afraid to take the leap from surface level retelling of her life, to really digging into things. To be honest, I felt as though she was afraid to admit any mistakes. Even though she quit her corporate career to become a chef, she never seemed to have very many obstacles. BOOOORRRING. Even the writing style was detached and uninteresting.I've read a ton of cooking and restaurant books lately, and sadly to s [...]

    30. This was a fast and easy read about a successful woman pastry chef in New York City. It's billed as an Anthony Bourdain "read-a-like", but I didn't feel it quite lived up to the hype and I didn't learn too much new gossip unless you think getting it from a female perspective is different. However, it was an easy read about the inner-workings of climbing the cooking ladder and the others who work in the business and it kept me entertained. If you like this kind of book, try it, but if you are loo [...]

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